SEVERE WX : Air Stagnation Advisory View Alerts

Fauci: Omicron variant almost invariably will spread all over

Dr. Anthony Fauci shared that it's possible the Omicron Covid-19 variant is already in the US during an NBC interview.

Posted: Nov 28, 2021 9:07 AM


At least 13 people who got tested at Amsterdam Schiphol airport after traveling from South Africa on Friday have tested positive for the Omicron coronavirus variant, Dutch health authorities said on Sunday.

The Netherlands' National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) said in a statement that the variant had been detected through the sequencing of 61 positive Covid-19 samples that were obtained at the airport on Friday.

The institute added that the sequencing work "had not been entirely completed" and that it was "possible that the new variant will be found in more test samples." Those who tested positive were sent to isolation, the authorities said.

The Omicron variant was first identified by scientists in South Africa, who raised alarm over its unusually high number of mutations on Thursday. Since then, at least dozen other have confirmed cases of the new strain, with several other reporting suspected cases.

Apart from South Africa, the variant has been found in Botswana, Belgium, Australia, the Netherlands, Denmark, United Kingdom, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Czech Republic and Hong Kong.

Biostatistician Professor Sheila Bird said the result from Amsterdam -- where about 600 passengers from two flights were tested and 61 came back positive, with at least 13 infected with the Omicron variant -- were concerning.

However, she said more data was needed. "There may be household clusters among the 13 Omicron positives or clustering may have been induced by where passengers were seated on the flight from South Africa," she told the Science Media Centre, adding that the vaccination status and age distribution of those infected will also need to be considered before any conclusions are made about the variant.

She said the situation should be seen with "alert rather than alarm until more is known."

Variant of concern

The World Health Organization (WHO) designated the Omicron variant, originally referred to as B.1.1.529, a "variant of concern." WHO said on Friday that early evidence suggest the Omicron variant, first identified in South Africa, could pose an increased risk of reinfection and said that some of the mutations detected on the variant were concerning.

But WHO stressed that more research is needed to determine whether the variant is more contagious, whether it causes more severe disease, and whether it could evade vaccines.

"This variant has a large number of mutations and some of these mutations have some worrying characteristics," Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's technical lead for Covid-19, said in a statement on Friday.

"Right now there are many studies that are underway ... so far there's little information but those studies are underway so we need researchers to have the time to carry those out and WHO will inform the public and our partners and our member states as soon as we have more information," she added.

Travel bans and new quarantine requirements

The variant's discovery and fast spread across the world is an uncomfortable reminder that the pandemic is far from over.

A number of countries have slammed their borders shut to travelers from southern Africa, with the European Union, Japan, Australia, the United States, Canada and many others banning travelers from countries including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi.

South Africa and some of the other countries hit by the travel bans pushed back against them. South Africa's Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said the country was being punished for its transparency.

"Excellent science should be applauded and not punished. The global community needs collaboration and partnerships in the management of the Covid-19 pandemic," the ministry said in a statement.

"A combination of South Africa's capacity to test and its ramped-up vaccination programme, backed up by world class scientific community, should give our global partners the comfort that we are doing as well as they are in managing the pandemic. South Africa follows and enforces globally recognized Covid-19 health protocols on travel. No infected individuals are permitted to leave the country," it added.

Malawi's President Lazarus Chakwera also criticized the travel bans, saying they were "uncalled for." "Covid measures must be based on science, not Afrophobia," he said on his official Facebook page.

Many experts said South African scientists deserved credit for their ability to quickly identify the risks stemming from the new variant.

The move to impose bans has also sparked criticism from WHO. "We've seen in the past, the minute there's any kind of mention of any kind of variation and everyone is closing borders and restricting travel. It's really important that we remain open, and stay focused," WHO's Head of Emergencies Dr. Michael Ryan said Saturday.

"South Africa has very, very good genomic sequencing capacity and capability ... certainly South Africa and any other countries should not be stigmatized for reporting it and doing the right thing," Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at the University of Southampton, told CNN in a phone interview.

However, Head said that travel bans, if used correctly, could play a role in controlling the outbreak.

"It's difficult scenario. It can buy you a bit of time. So if countries are imposing a ban and using that time, which will be at the moment a few weeks, to increase the pace of vaccination rollouts to make sure that any new antiviral drugs are available within the country, to increase testing, genomic surveillance at airports, that sort of thing, that's something you can usefully do with a travel ban," he said.

"If you just implement a travel ban and say 'right, job done' then that's no good to anyone. And if you do, as it were, punish countries for reporting new variants, we should really look to support them as well, whether it's infrastructure or funding or vaccine doses whatever might be appropriate."

The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 597172

Reported Deaths: 5994
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah97855949
Washington72322469
Marion58210575
Clackamas51874464
Lane46498401
Deschutes39433228
Jackson36118423
Linn21625221
Umatilla20245190
Douglas16847326
Yamhill14599172
Josephine13676293
Polk12587115
Benton1198848
Klamath11864179
Coos8848130
Malheur732896
Columbia623267
Jefferson615771
Lincoln558064
Crook492962
Union431665
Wasco429450
Clatsop382237
Tillamook303854
Hood River298340
Baker280140
Curry269541
Morrow269326
Grant141118
Harney134935
Lake120123
Wallowa103813
Sherman2773
Gilliam2464
Wheeler1932
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 7991072

Reported Deaths: 78887
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles254007528540
San Diego7022444586
Riverside5575215661
San Bernardino5342436285
Orange5311965978
Santa Clara2741302006
Sacramento2590942639
Alameda2272641581
Fresno2118802430
Kern2046861977
Contra Costa1708591092
Ventura1634641261
San Joaquin1544461959
Stanislaus1205811525
San Francisco115039703
Tulare1119791219
San Mateo107257647
Santa Barbara77033591
Monterey73307654
Sonoma72263432
Solano71539400
Placer60750518
Merced59092730
Imperial54544824
San Luis Obispo47519387
Kings45875396
Santa Cruz39040237
Madera34774339
Butte33859350
Yolo33801273
Marin31894253
Shasta31542515
El Dorado25700179
Napa21895111
Sutter19192200
Humboldt16259129
Yuba14624103
Nevada14502112
Tehama12624145
Mendocino12550113
Unassigned123723
San Benito1174191
Tuolumne1062291
Lake9006118
Lassen899459
Amador738573
Calaveras634395
Siskiyou589064
Glenn566339
Del Norte455943
Inyo397950
Colusa393821
Mono29054
Plumas253012
Mariposa251219
Trinity122019
Modoc8716
Sierra2860
Alpine1200
Out of CA00
Medford
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 25°
Feels Like: 30°
Brookings
Partly Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 39°
Crater Lake
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 16°
Feels Like: 30°
Grants Pass
Clear
30° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 24°
Feels Like: 30°
Klamath Falls
Clear
21° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 18°
Feels Like: 15°
Few showers on the westside today, stagnant weather begins tonight
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events